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To Veto or Not to Veto: Ohio Governor Breaks Silence on Recently Passed Anti-LGBTQ+ Law

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Comments Gender Affirming Care Ban
Image: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has less than two weeks to sign or veto the bill, which would ban gender-affirming care for minors and restrict transgender athletes.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, has finally commented on the controversial anti-LGBTQ+ legislation heading to his desk.

The Ohio legislature last Wednesday approved a bill that bans gender-affirming care for transgender minors, as well as prohibits transgender girls and women from competing in female school sports categories.

DeWine previously had not spoken publicly about the legislation, but once opposed a different proposed sports ban, as he stated he did not believe the government should weigh in on such an issue. He still has not given his position on the bill, but as of Monday, said he would be carefully considering his decision.

"This is a very, very contentious issue," the governor told local outlet 3News. "Other states have dealt with this issue as well, but ultimately, my decision will be based on one thing — and that is what I think is in the best interest of the children that will be impacted by this law."

House Bill 68 prevents doctors and other health care providers from prescribing puberty blockers or hormone therapy to minors if they are being used for gender transition. Minors already taking puberty blockers or hormones will be allowed to continue, so long as a doctor determines that stopping treatment would be detrimental to their health.

The law also bans gender-affirming surgery on minors, despite no healthcare facility in the state offering the procedure. Such surgery is already scarcely — virtually never — performed on minors.

The sports provision aims to bar trans women and girls from participating in female sports categories at public institutions. There were only seven trans girls in all of Ohio competing during the 2023-2024 school year, according to The Columbus Dispatch

DeWine has 10 days to approve or veto the bill once his office receives it, which had not occurred as of Friday. Several civil rights leaders and organizations have publicly urged the governor to veto the "shameful" legislation.

“All Ohioans deserve a state where they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” HRC Senior Director of Legal Policy Cathryn Oakley said in a press release. “The Ohio legislature’s relentless focus on anti-transgender legislation is shameful and out of touch with the values of the people of Ohio."

Ohio voters seem to particularly oppose restrictions on healthcare, as in the 2023 midterm elections, the state overwhelmingly voted for a measure enshrining abortion access in the state constitution.

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.